Do not panic over rising cases, the government says, but some scientists are angry at the lack of action



The level of coronavirus infection among the elderly is at its highest level, millions of people have probably been infected this week, schools are exposed to renewed mass disorders and hospitals are left with an increase in Covid patients.

It is fair to say that if Russia had not invaded Ukraine, a greater spotlight would have been on our current predicament than has been the case in recent days.

Sajid Javid and other ministers have repeatedly spoken out to reassure the public that there should be no panic. It should be people who think they have Covid “socialize” a little lesssaid the health minister this week as he dismissed concerns about rising hospital admissions.

Even Professor Sir Chris Whitty sends out “keep calm and keep going” messages. He told a conference for public health leaders on Wednesday Britain should just “roll with it” and expect more surprises, including a new variant that will do more harm than Omicron. Although he stressed that the pandemic is “far from over”.

Researchers believe that the BA.2 strain of Omicron will find and infect those susceptible to infection, and the most recent Office of National Statistics (ONS) weekly infection test carries this out of. Across the UK as a whole, 4.26 million people had probably had coronavirus last week – just below the 4.30 million in the first week of 2022, which was the highest number since estimates began.

As Kevin McConway, professor emeritus of applied statistics at The Open University, said: “There’s not much to be happy about in this week’s release from the admirable ONS survey. One good point is that ONS believes that the number of people , which would test positive in Northern Ireland in the past week (ending 19 March) has fallen compared to the week before.

“But the estimates that are still high, and estimated numbers that tested positive, increased in the other three UK countries, in all regions of England and for each and every one of the age groups that ONS uses for their analysis in England. Last week’s estimates are the highest since the survey started in both Wales and Scotland, and there has been only one week higher than this week’s England estimate. “

The good news is that the current wave will burn out by simply infecting all those who may be infected. Fourth coronavirus jabs for those over 75 began this week, while likely over 50 will be offered a booster for the fall. Public health officials are urging everyone yet to step forward in their jab to do so. As the University of Oxford’s James Naismith said on Friday: “Vaccines are a triumph for science.”

So what next? Although Wales ministers are still considering whether to bring back some restrictions, such as mandatory face masks in certain environments, it is unlikely that England will do the same. The message from Boris Johnson down has been one of “living with Covid” wherever it may lead. And he has the support of a majority of the public who have had enough of restrictions and agree that it is time to learn to live with the virus.

Although the scale of the infection is once again putting pressure on the NHS – a total of 16,975 people with Covid-19 were hospitalized in the UK on 23 March, an 18 per cent increase on the previous week and the highest number since 24 January – The combination of vaccination, improved treatments and the less serious nature of Omicron means for the vast majority of those infected that this will not be life-threatening. The number of patients in need of ventilation remains low. As long as that remains the case, do not expect any change in policy.

However, researchers are angry and say the easing of restrictions is causing a massive resurgence of infections across the UK. Dr. Stephen Griffin, an associate professor at the University of Leeds School of Medicine, said: “Blinding ourselves to this level of harm does not mean living with a viral infection, on the contrary. Public health has apparently dropped dramatically on the list of this government’s priorities to its detriment. British population as a whole.

“The frustration over the lack of mitigation that could so easily limit this increase is palpable for many; without adequate vaccination, ventilation, masking, isolation and testing, we will continue to ‘live with’ disorders, illness and unfortunately death as a result. “If the government continues to ignore the advice of (now foolishly dissolved) SAGE, independent SAGE and the World Health Organization, we as a nation will unfortunately reap what they have sown.”

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